Tech UPTechnologyThey discover a tiny relative of dinosaurs

They discover a tiny relative of dinosaurs

About the size of a coffee cup, this little creature lived in Madagascar approximately 237 million years ago during the Triassic period.

Despite its small size, just 10 centimeters tall, scientists include it within the ancient Ornithodira group: the last common ancestor of all dinosaurs and pterosaurs.

“There is a general perception of dinosaurs as giants,” reports Christian Kammerer, a paleontologist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. “But this new animal is very close to the divergence of dinosaurs and pterosaurs, and it is surprisingly small.”

Its remains were first found during field work in 1998 at a fossil site in southwestern Madagascar , along with the remains of hundreds of other ancient specimens. Its examination determines that it is the smallest known species in a family of early dinosauromorphs called Lagerpetidae.

“Although dinosaurs and gigantism are practically synonymous, an analysis of the evolution of body size in dinosaurs and other archosaurs in the context of this taxon and related forms shows that the first members of the divergent group may have been smaller than what previously thought, and that a profound miniaturization event occurred near the base of the avian stem lineage, “write the authors in the journal PNAS.

 

Referencia: Christian F. Kammerer, Sterling J. Nesbitt, John J. Flynn, Lovasoa Ranivoharimanana, and André R. Wyss. “A tiny ornithodiran archosaur from the Triassic of Madagascar and the role of miniaturization in dinosaur and pterosaur ancestry”. PNAS, julio de 2020.

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